The GENCODE Consortium expects the human genome has twice as many genes than previously thought, many of which might have a role in cellular control and could be important in human disease. This remarkable discovery comes from the GENCODE Consortium, which has done a painstaking and skilled review of available data on gene activity.
Among their discoveries, the team describe more than 10,000 novel genes, identify genes that have 'died' and others that are being resurrected. The GENCODE Consortium reference gene catalogue has been one of the underpinnings of the larger ENCODE Project and will be essential for the full understanding of the role of our genes in disease.
The GENCODE Consortium is part of the ENCODE Project that, today, publishes 30 research papers describing findings from their nearly decade-long effort to describe comprehensively all the active regions of our human genome. ENCODE was launched in 2003 after the completion of the Human Genome Project, and brought together an international group of scientists tasked with identifying and describing all functional regions of the human genome sequence.
"We have uncovered a staggering array of genes in our genome, simply because we can examine many genomes in a detail that was not possible a decade ago," says Dr Jennifer Harrow, GENCODE principle investigator from the Wellcome Sanger Institute. "As sequencing technology improves, so we have much more data to explore.
"But our work remains a skilled effort to annotate correctly our human genome or, more precisely, our human genomes, for each of us differ. These vast texts of genetic information will not give up their secrets easily. GENCODE has made amazing strides to enable immediate access of its reference gene set by other researchers."
The team more accurately described the genes that contain the genetic code to make proteins: they found 20,687 such protein-coding genes, a value that has not changed great
|Contact: Aileen Sheehy|
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute